6 Health Myths Debunked

This is a guest post by John Hannen.

Throughout time there has many myths and old wives’ tales. In childhood, we were often led to believe that we wouldn’t get curly hair if we didn’t eat our bread crusts or walking under a ladder would give us bad luck. However, many myths revolved around our health. Of course, the ‘step on a crack, break your back’ saying isn’t something which is true, but there are other concepts with we do follow. Here, Pharma Nord UK, who stock pycnogenol supplements which can help with dry eyes mouth, take a look at various myths involving your health.

Cracking Knuckles

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Some people believe that cracking your knuckles is a sure-fire way of getting arthritis later in life. Research has found that up to 54% of us actually do it – whether it’s pulling the tip of each until they crack, making a fist or bending our fingers away from our hand. Men are also more likely to do it. The popping noise and sensation is created by the spaces between the joints increasing, which causes gases dissolved in the synovial fluid to form microscopic bubbles. These bubbles then merge into larger bubbles and are popped by additional fluid that has filled the enlarged space.

There is, of course, a suggestion that wear and tear may kick in in the same way that a mechanical joint would get. However, there hasn’t been a huge amount of research into the matter. However, a study from 2010 claimed that there was no difference in the prevalence of osteoarthritis between those who did or did not crack their knuckles. In other words, crack on… for now!

Soap in Bed

Placing a bar of soap under your bedsheets, according to the myth, can help to relieve muscle cramps, especially in your lower legs. While those who perform this method stand by it, there is no plausible or scientific explanation that has been given to suggest that this actually does work.

Those of us who suffer from lower leg cramps should focus on some proven techniques. This includes reducing your caffeine intake on a night time, stretching your calf muscles before bed, and increasing your intake of essential electrolytes, including potassium, calcium and magnesium.

Onions in Socks

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Get the flu in years gone by and people may have advised you to place onions in your socks. While it sounds odd, some swear that this is a great remedy. The concept is that, because onions are slightly acidic, there can be antibacterial results when rubbed against things. Unfortunately for the believers, onions in your socks haven’t been found to aid your recovery. As viruses require direct contact with a human being to spread, this wouldn’t allow the onion to draw the virus in and absorb it. Therefore, this myth appears to only work as a placebo effect.

Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever

This may be seen by some as a myth, but it may also be good advice. The folklore of starving a fever has been around for hundreds of years, with some medical historians linking it as far back at the 1500s. Back then, doctors believed that fever was caused because your metabolism was in overdrive.  However, you shouldn’t starve your fever, modern-day experts have warned. Doing so means you’ll have a lower calorie intake, which can then make it more difficult for your body to fight off the flu virus.

According to research, if you eat less during the early stages of bad infections, it may have a dangerous effect on your body. This means that most experts will dismiss the starve-a-fever comment as pure folklore.

Swallowing Chewing Gum

‘Don’t swallow your gum,’ most of us would have been told in our youth. Some of us may have been scared off swallowing our gum as it will stay in our system for seven years. While it’s not particularly advisable to do so, you can relax – this is a decades-old bit of folklore, according to pediatric gastroenterologist David Milov of the Nemours Children’s Clinic in Orlando. He explained: “That would mean that every single person who ever swallowed gum within the last seven years would have evidence of the gum in the digestive tract. On occasion, we’ll see a piece of swallowed gum, but usually, it’s not something that’s any more than a week old.”

Carrots Improve Sight

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If you believe in myths, one of the main you’ll come across is that carrots are great for an abundance of ailments. Throughout the years, they have been associated with helping cure everything from snakebites to STDs. However, one of the most popular comments is that carrots can help you see in the dark. Unfortunately, this was simply propaganda that first began in the Second World War following the British Royal Air Force creating the fabricated tale that the vegetable was attributed to fighter pilot Jon ‘Cats’ Eyes’ Cunningham’s great skills. This led to it being mandated for people to eat their carrots, as it would help them see better during the blackouts.

While carrots can’t improve your vision, they offer nutritional benefits thanks to the levels of vitamin A and lutein.

There are a vast number of myths that can quickly and easily be quashed. Without having the facts and figures, don’t play with your health. If you want clarification of an ailment, make sure you speak to your GP before believing old wives’ tales.

References

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120917-is-it-bad-to-crack-your-knuckles

https://www.steadyhealth.com/medical-answers/myth-vs-science-could-using-a-bar-of-soap-under-your-bed-sheet-relieve-pain-and-muscle-cramps

https://www.healthline.com/health/cold-flu/onion-in-sock#evidence

https://www.everydayhealth.com/cold-and-flu/colds-and-fevers.aspx

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fact-or-fiction-chewing-gum-takes-seven-years-to-digest/

https://yoursightmatters.com/carrots-really-improve-eyesight/

 

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